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Overall Rating
3.24

Awesome: 10.99%
Worth A Look36.26%
Average: 25.27%
Pretty Bad: 20.88%
Total Crap: 6.59%

6 reviews, 55 user ratings


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Cats and Dogs
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Cool idea wasted."
2 stars

Having lived under the same roof with both species in question, I was ready to embrace 'Cats & Dogs' as a frisky, funny antidote to the bloat and crud we've been handed so far this summer. I was ready to accept the movie's premise that dogs are loyal and friendly and cats are devious and evil; the two cats I currently live with, while not exactly evil, are still the sort who deposit interesting gifts on the bathroom rug and don't remotely care if I catch them doing it.

Cats & Dogs is a blend of live action, Jim Henson Workshop puppetry, and computer animation. In short, it's yet another movie that would have little reason to exist without the novelty of bits and bytes; if it were done as a straight hand-drawn cartoon, it would seem to have no point, primarily because it's been done that way so many times before -- the war between cats and dogs has been chronicled since lines first moved on a screen (most notably by Chuck Jones, the Thucydides of this particular war).

The premise, courtesy of scripters Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, has amusement potential: Cats used to lord it over mankind until dogs rose up and helped their best friends, humans, overthrow the feline oppressors. Now the cats, led by the unfortunately named Mr. Tinkles (voice by Will & Grace's Sean Hayes), have a plan: stop nutty professor Jeff Goldblum from inventing a formula that will eradicate human allergies to dogs. (You'd think the cats would want to befriend Goldblum and persuade him to concoct a comparable serum for cat allergies, but never mind.) After the family dog is "catnapped," Goldblum's wife (Elizabeth Perkins) brings home a perky new beagle for their bratty kid (Alexander Pollock, who isn't exactly a find), who christens the dog Lou (short for "Loser").

Tobey Maguire comes in for voice work on Lou, and he and the rest of the actors who make the dogs talk -- Alec Baldwin as the gruff combat veteran Butch, Joe Pantoliano as the surveillance expert Peek, Susan Sarandon as the vampy Ivy -- are mostly stuck on sincere mode; it's as if dogs were incapable of guile (if so, they must suck at the espionage we keep seeing them practice in montages). At least the dogs are convincing visually, though; except for the talking scenes -- no one has yet mastered the illusion of talking animals, though the Babe movies came closest -- the dogs move like real dogs. It's obvious actual dogs were used whenever possible.

The cats, on the other hand, are disgraceful. Those who live with cats and watch them a lot will be offended by Cats & Dogs, not because the movie slanders kitties but because nobody who made the movie seems to have any idea how cats move. Cats are constantly shown doing things cats can't do, moving in ways no cat can. Since the dogs are generally realistic, the cats look all the more puppety and cheap. Really, these cats are only a step or three advanced from Toonces the driving cat. When an actual cat makes a rare appearance onscreen, it sticks out and looks wrong -- "Hey, that's a real cat. It's actually moving gracefully. Looks weird."

The photo of the dour-looking cat leader addressing his minions under a giant banner reading "MR. TINKLES" promises a sillier, funkier time at the movies than you get; so does Sean Hayes' participation as Mr. Tinkles -- he never gets to be as bitchy as you want him to be. Cats & Dogs is, at its absolute peak, faintly amusing. I chuckled at a few bits, like an audience of mice flipping through Mr. Tinkles' planbook in unison, or the way an esteemed dog (voiced by Charlton Heston) gets the attention of all the other canines at the World Council of Dogs.

I certainly didn't laugh much at the humans; poor Elizabeth Perkins seems stranded, and Jeff Goldblum is sidling up to the non-performance stage of his career -- he knows all he has to do is show up, stammer a little, and put on that hipster grin of his that tells you he's really smarter than this. If so, why is he, or anyone else, in this movie?

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5350&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/26/07 15:01:08
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User Comments

12/31/09 the dork knight Sieg heil, Mr Tinkles. 3 stars
9/15/09 A. Nonymous Fun for the kiddies... again, FOR THE KIDDIES people! Sheesh 4 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. entertaining and fun :D 4 stars
9/03/08 Shaun Wallner This was a funny movie. 5 stars
5/15/08 PAUL SHORTT A GROSS INSULT TO ANY HUMAN BEING WITH THE INTELLIGENCE OF A POUND MUTT 2 stars
4/18/07 Stevo UK this must have come out of one of the dogs. it smells funny. 1 stars
2/13/07 johnnyfog Mr Tinkles is the cat version of Stalin! Bad movie otherwise 2 stars
1/15/07 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 3 stars
12/24/06 David Cohen Cute idea, mediocre execution 3 stars
8/19/06 Spotty boring, dumb. too much 'against-cats-ness'. 1 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist Another campy kiddie flick talking animal comedy,w/ lame actors& anti-cat stereotypes. 2 stars
5/20/06 Kcaj Tobey Maguire was funny but the rest was stupid fun 4 stars
1/17/06 hunt This movie was all that great, it was boring compare to many others animal comedies 2 stars
9/05/05 Lenny Wow. The Animals Can Really Talk. Best Movie In The World. 5 stars
8/13/05 ES Betcha Baldwin hates the thought of being reduced to this 1 stars
5/25/05 lily maham dumb 1 stars
2/17/05 DM Funny concept, but way too dumb for anyone except little kids 2 stars
6/19/04 Denise Duspiva okay 3 stars
6/09/03 Clarise So so 3 stars
12/31/02 Angel Sassy I love Mr.Tinkles and Sassy to be togeter and make a movie about them 5 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum How can you fuck up a great idea like this??? 2 stars
6/01/02 Jiz Not a classic by any stretch, but still funny and original. 4 stars
12/21/01 Mister Char A guilty pleasure to be sure. I enjoyed it and there is cool stuff on the dvd! 5 stars
11/30/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) All except for making cats look bad, the movie is awesome!!!!!!! 4 stars
11/25/01 Butterbean Cute pets, great concept...Loved Mr. Tinkles! But I was a bit disappointed. 3 stars
11/03/01 The Rock BULL SHIT-TOTAL WASTE OF TIME 1 stars
11/03/01 moviegoer what is wrong with you people? this movie was awful besides a few solametheywerefunny jokes 2 stars
10/27/01 ||Dani::O|| Great concept, average execution, SHITTY script for the humans 3 stars
10/20/01 Tam Brilliant animation, but too saccharine for me. Ruined by silly acting. 3 stars
10/02/01 Belinda Spend the 90mins pampering your own pets than sitting through this CRAP. 1 stars
9/29/01 Phoenix It's fitting that the dogs are the good guys and the cats are the bad guys. 4 stars
9/25/01 viking A live action cartoon 4 stars
9/23/01 jason cutter good laughs, but don't confuse yourself that this is a serious film 4 stars
9/19/01 rex dog lover alec baldwin was the down fall. 4 stars
8/21/01 Gary Bird This is deffinately the most coolest film of the year 5 stars
8/20/01 chelsea butcher Brill !!! 4 stars
8/17/01 nargis akbar mr tinkles is the cutest thing in the world 5 stars
8/10/01 L I knew my cat was up to something! And they said I was crazy...I'm not a camel 5 stars
8/09/01 moviegoer I found the movie enjoyable and wonderful for children though not extraordinarily wonderful 4 stars
8/08/01 Scott J. I enjoyed quite a bit. The parodies were fairly good, but the movie lagged ocassionally. 4 stars
8/06/01 Xavier Not bad, especially Toto Inialation, Graphics were very good, Bit Slow in Parts. 4 stars
8/03/01 ginelle i think it was da bomb 4 stars
7/28/01 ryanschmid1@yahoo.com It was pretty good! Funny, but slow in parts. 4 stars
7/28/01 Turtle It's very cute and funny, but only better than Dr. Dolittle 2 by a bit. 4 stars
7/28/01 Liz Leighton I haven't laughed this hard since I don't know when. Total enjoyment! 5 stars
7/25/01 Heather Worth a look for the great special effects but let down by dumb, predictable plot 4 stars
7/24/01 Julie It was funny and cute 4 stars
7/24/01 SJKelley Clever concept, good execution, fun for kids and adults. 4 stars
7/24/01 sdfk Is the cat from Sabrina jealous? Average but good for kids. 3 stars
7/11/01 The Bomb 69 get the Russian!!! Funny stuff 4 stars
7/08/01 Leon Trotsky Great opening sequence, got lost along the way. Too bad. 3 stars
7/08/01 J Lets just say that I'm agreeing with Roy on this underrated movie. Dog propaganda? Please! 5 stars
7/06/01 Roy Smith Really funny in many places, like Cincinnati. 5 stars
7/06/01 krowdsurf Not as funny as the trailers would have you think, but not terrible either. 3 stars
7/05/01 Paul Meade Very funny, not to corny. The technology and special effects were superior 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  04-Jul-2001 (PG)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  20-Sep-2001 (G)




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